Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, urged world governments to take advantage of the great opportunity provided by COP28 in the UAE to accelerate climate action, with a particular emphasis on food system transformation and encouraging nature-based solutions.
This occurred during her high-level talks on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA) 78th session in New York.
Almheiri, who is also the COP28 Food Systems Lead, emphasised the significance of collective effort in order to establish more sustainable global food systems, emphasising the UAE's emphasis on food and agriculture in the COP28 agenda.
She also highlighted the UAE's support for the Mangrove Breakthrough and the Mangroves Ministerial, which will be held during COP28 on Nature, Oceans, and Land Use Day to foster debates on nature-based solutions.
She explained the importance of the COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, which focuses on four key domains of country-led action, non-state actor leadership and action, innovation scaling, and finance, during her participation in the Ministerial Panel Discussion on the High Impact Initiative Food Systems, organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Inviting other countries to demonstrate national leadership by signing the first-ever Emirates Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action, which was emailed to all agriculture ministers on September 27 for feedback.
The UAE's goal, according to Almheiri, is to further galvanise community effort to improve the food system.
Speaking at the 'Nature and People (HAC): From Ambition to Action' High-Level event, Almheiri reaffirmed the UAE's commitment to nature-based solutions and their role in strengthening resilience to climate change.
She stated that COP28 will mobilise robust action to drive implementation and advance the climate-nature agenda, as well as demonstrate practical, novel, and at-scale solutions that protect, restore, and sustainably manage critical land and ocean ecosystems such as forests, mangroves, peatlands, and corals, as part of the Presidency's Action Agenda.
"This collaborative effort between the Global Mangrove Alliance and the UN Climate Change High-level Champions has support from non-state actors and governments worldwide with one main goal: to restore and protect 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030," Almheiri said, endorsing the Mangrove Breakthrough. These kinds of ambitious, responsible, and collaborative nature-based projects can assist the global community get back on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets by 2050."
She urged all nations to support the Mangrove Breakthrough and become active members of the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC). MAC, a collaboration between the UAE and Indonesia, has attracted 20 partners to scale up and expedite mangrove ecosystem protection and restoration for the benefit of communities globally.
Speaking at the 'Food+ Forum: Foreign Policy' with Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, Almheiri emphasised the importance of directing collective innovation and mobilising global funding to combat global hunger and develop sustainable and equitable food systems.
She asked countries to join AIM for Climate, which the UAE co-chairs with the United States. AIM for Climate has collected $13 billion in funding for climate-smart agricultural and food chain innovation, with over 500 worldwide partners.
"The UAE believes that securing equitable climate finance for developing countries is one of the most powerful ways COP28 can deliver." As a result, we can all work together to greatly improve the food system. Unlocking priorities at the national level might make a significant and immediate difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. This is what the UAE Presidency intends to highlight at COP28 in just two months, resulting in a positive paradigm shift in our food systems."